Sky music judge and songwriter named Freelancer of the Year
Rachel Mason, a songwriter, musical director and former judge on Sky One’s Sing: Ultimate A Cappella, has been named Freelancer of the Year.
The Freelancer Awards by IPSE (the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed) are an annual event to celebrate the best of the UK’s 4.8 million freelancers and self-employed.
Rachel Mason is a multi-award-winning songwriter, musical director, arranger and vocal coach. She was also an expert judge for Sky One’s National Television Award-nominated show, Sing: Ultimate A Cappella, during which she worked with acts including Midge Ure and the Vamps.
Accepting the award, the mum-of-two was stunned and said: “I don’t know what to say. I just can’t believe I won instead of all the other amazingly talented people in my category!”
She said she planned to use the £5,000 prize money for two new businesses, one of which uses music to help support women with postnatal depression.
Of her career, Rachel said: “I love freelancing as it gives me the freedom to choose how I use my time. If inspiration strikes to write a song or plan a new project I can move my schedule around to be able to follow the creative flow when I feel it.
“It's such a liberating feeling to be able to do this and I know I'm at my most productive when I can work in this way.”
She also said: “I have a baby and toddler I take care of whilst also working on a variety of projects and teaching my singing students, so having the flexibility to fit my work around my family allows me to feel I can be fully committed to my roles as a mother and a freelance musical director.”
With 4.8 million people, the self-employed sector makes up 15 per cent of the workforce and is almost the size of the entire public sector. It has grown by 47 per cent in the last ten years and shows no signs of stopping.
The full list of award winners are:
National Freelancer of the Year Award, celebrating the innovation and excellence of freelancers in the UK: (winner) Rachel Mason, a musical director and songwriter; (runner up) Colin Stuart, an author, astronomy expert and science enthusiast.
Young Freelancer of the Year Award, celebrating the most talented self-employed people aged 23 and under: (winner) Bree Kotomah, a fashion designer from London. Bree is self-taught and fuses her Ghanaian heritage with western styles; (highly commended) Elliot Reeves-Giblin, who created a theatre company to encourage working-class children into the theatre.
New to Freelancing, celebrating professionals who have successfully become self-employed in the past two years: (winner) Adam Pearson, a research consultant from Lancashire. Adam helps organisations to
Freelance project of the year: (winner) Olivier Jamin, deaf artist based in Birmingham. Olivier has been involved in a number of public engagement artworks, as well as encouraging new deaf artists.
Co-Working Space of the Year: (winner) Duke Studios, Leeds; (runner up) Incubyte, Cambridge; (highly commended) Devon Business and Education Centre, Devon.
Ambassador of the Year, celebrating membership organisations, support groups, knowledge hubs and individuals who support and represent the flexible labour market: (winner) Freelance Heroes, a community that provides peer-to-peer support for freelancers.
University Partner of the Year: (Winner) Goldsmiths, University of London; (runner up) Birkbeck, University of London.
Chris Bryce, IPSE CEO, said: “Freelancers are everywhere in our economy and society – adding creativity, innovation and sometimes joy through their work. But they rarely get the recognition they deserve. The IPSE Freelancer Awards are here to change that.
“It is always amazing to see the breadth of the freelance sector represented. Where else would you see a musical director up against an astronomer, an international relations expert, a sex therapist and a florist? It is so important for us all that these amazing people get the support and opportunities to flourish.”